It’s safe to say that Everton supporters were glad to see the back of Kevin Mirallas. Arriving on Merseyside back in 2012, the Belgian winger initially did well for the Toffees, a goal and assist against Liverpool in the 2013/14 season arguably the pinnacle of his time at Goodison Park.
That campaign also saw him create more chances than any other player in the side, but the relationship between him and the fans soured towards the end. Everton followers complained that Mirallas was lazy and complacent, and a loan to Olympiacos in the summer of 2017 signalled the end of his playing days on Merseyside.
“I considered my journey in Liverpool to be over, so I looked for a new challenge,” Mirallas told La Gazzetta dello Sport upon joining Fiorentina at the beginning of the current campaign. “I couldn’t play football without feeling happy, and for a long time the real Mirallas hadn’t been seen on the pitch.
“Fiorentina arrived at the right moment and in order not to put the deal in jeopardy I accepted a reduced salary. I gave up on a lot of money but I’m happy. In Serie A I will rediscover my love of playing football. The great times will come back again.”
The 31-year-old’s prophecy looks to be coming true in Florence too as – initially used in a bit-part role by Coach Stefano Pioli – Mirallas’ recent form has made it impossible for the Fiorentina boss to ignore him. Introduced as a substitute when the side were 3-1 down to Sassuolo two weeks ago, the former Everton man changed the game, providing a 97th minute equaliser to level the scores at 3-3.
Those 15 minutes of brilliance rewarded him with a place in the starting XI at home to Empoli last Sunday, and he certainly did not disappoint. Ending the match with a superb strike to his name and an excellent performance, his maturity, workrate and skill is proving to be an excellent asset to the Tuscan side. Not only that, but it looks as though any lingering malaise from his ill-fated ending at Everton has disappeared, and here we have a player refreshed and ready to work for his new team.
Mirallas – with 60 appearances for the Belgian national side under his belt – provides the necessary experience and a calm head that is so sorely needed in a Fiorentina team filled with young players. After a terrible run of eight draws and two defeats, he has been the one to drive the team forward and out of their slump, and for that he deserves to continue in the starting lineup.
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